bad news: catching up with george w.

by mg at 06:36 PM on January 31, 2003

MG: As the web's most trusted source for news and information, we here at Bad Samaritan, reporting from the news desk of the BNN, have been granted an exclusive interview with President George W. Bush following Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address. Thank you for joining us Mr. President.

GWB: Thank you for inviting me. I love your site. It's part of what I like to call the World "Wild" Web. Bad Samaritan is my start page. I just wish the other authors posted more.

MG: So do I Mr. President. My first question has to do with Universal Health Care, which was a major issue during the Clinton administration, but has seemed to disappear from public debate since you took office. Speaking as someone who has been without health insurance for 2 years, I'm wondering what you plan to do to insure all Americans have access to medical care?

GWB: Americans are healthier than ever today. That Jared guy is a perfect example; he didn’t need a doctor, all he needed was a sandwich. If you eat right and use home remedies you don’t need medical care. Just look at Dickie, he's got a battalion of doctors and they ain't none of them been able to fix his faulty ticker.

MG: During the 2000 campaign you said you'd be the "education president." Yet, education programs have continued to lose funding. How do you explain the discrepancy?

GWB: Uh?

MG: Discrepancy, it means the difference between what you've said and what you've done.

GWB: Oh! Discrepancy. I know words.

MG: Yes you do. The question Mr. President?

GWB: You know I believe all children are special. But we got bigger fish to fry. What good is a textbook gonna be if Iraq decides to invade the United States?

MG: I don't think Iraq could possibly inva...

GWB: 'Sides I never finished college and look where I am?

MG: Mr. President, you graduated from Yale. You got an MBA from Harvard.

GWB: Really? The 70s are kind of a haze to me. The 80s and most of the 90s too. Apparently I owned a baseball team too. Seriously, I don’t remember that at all man. Those most have been some good times.

cont'd »

comments (5)


everybody needs a bosom for a pillow, everybody needs a bosom. mine's on the forty-five

by mg at 01:15 AM on January 31, 2003

I’ve been feeling a little blue the last couple days. Nothing I can put my finger on, but definitely nothing serious. I’m probably just coming down with a cold or need to readjust my meds or something. But, when I’m feeling blue I like to buy things.

I know it’s very selfish, and it’s a totally awful American consumerist thing to do. There are starving children in Bangladesh. Still, it makes me feel better, and because of that I can push everything that’s wrong with it out of my mind. Even the fact that I don’t actually have any money.

Today, I wanted to purchase something. I needed to purchase something. But the lack of funds weighed heavily on my mind, in direct inverse proportion to the nothing weighing heavily in my wallet. That meant options for my acquisitions were severely limited. In such cases, I usually hit a used bookstore, or H&M for some cheap clothes (thereby making myself not feel so bad about the starving Bangladeshi kids. Since all H&M’s clothes are made in the third world, I’m helping those kids, because that job making me sweaters, pays a whopping 11 cents a week. Besides, children, with their tiny little hands, sew such tight seams).

I decided to hit my favorite spot for some old vinyl. I’m on a Motown kick at the moment, and I wanted to see what I could find. Don’t ask, because I will not tell you where this place is because all you hipster fucks will start shopping there and I wont ever be able to find anything good anymore. (Like I’m not a hipster; I mentioned used books, vinyl and H&M in the same breath. God I hate myself).

So, I dug through the stacks and scored five really great finds (Lou Reed’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal, U2’s Joshua Tree, Madonna’sLike A Virgin, The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls, and Patsy Cline’s Songwriters’ Tribute), all for less than the cost of a brand new CD. Speaking of - $18.99 for a new CD!? No wonder the record industry sold 100 million less records last year than they did in 2000 (well, that and the economy, thank you very much Mr. Greenspan).

As I was flipped through the stacks, I noticed something strange. It didn’t really click in my head until I got home and saw this. In case the image is too blurry, it’s the name “John” written on the Lou Reed cover. It hit me that a lot of the other albums had names written on them too, all in the same color marker and handwriting. The two names on the albums were “John” and “Mary.” And in my head, a story started to develop.

It was 1979, and two crazy kids named John and Mary decided to finally take the plunge and live together in sin. But John, being a guy and therefore secretly afraid of commitment, even if he was willing to make this big step, decided he’d write his name on all the records he was bringing to the relationship, and Mary’s name on hers. You know, just in case they ever did break up. “Not that we ever will, Mary. Baby. Don’t be angry. Do we have to talk about this now? We’re going to miss the 7:30 showing of Kramer vs. Kramer.”

Time passed. Eventually John and Mary got married. They were very happy, for very many years. But Mary, she started feeling restless with her life. One night she was working late at the non-profit she began volunteering at when their son started college in the fall. In a moment of weakness, she gave way to passion with another man (What? This is my story, Of course the woman is the problem. I’ve got issues. Like you don’t?).

John was crushed. They divorced. Mary, thinking it would make him feel better, left John all the records, even the ones with her name written on them. But to John, they weren’t “his” and “hers” anymore, they were “theirs.” When he put Lou Reed on the old victrola, he realized he he was, again, only “John.” To him, the records were a constant reminder that “he” and “her” were no more an “us.” So, he gave them away. If those sounds could no longer be “theirs,” he didn’t want them to belong to just “him” any more.

And that was how the ended up in the racks, and in my hands, and on my record player. Bad news for John, lucky for me.

comments (14)


These Things Used To Be Mine, I Want 'Em Back

by anna at 07:05 PM on January 30, 2003

Growing up my parents ran a popular, upscale restaurant. It had distinctive chairs upholstered in a hideous red. When my son was just one year old, he used to crawl around on them. Soon thereafter my dad died and his restaurant shut down, an historic landmark to be replaced by rows of nondescript townhouses. All the furniture was auctioned off, but my sister managed to snag a couple of the chairs. She breaks them out when extra seating is needed.

So we're gathered over at her spread. My boy pipes up saying he remembered crawling around on the red chairs. In fact, he claimed to have a vivid flashback of it. I thought, no way. Someone must have told him about it. After all, no one recalls stuff that happened when they were tots. Or do they? As it turned out, he was on the level.

Deadpan comic Stephen Wright used to open his shows with this line: "A funny thing happened to me on the way over here. Oh wait, that was someone else." I was reminded of this quip when a lively discussion then ensued about my siblings' earliest memories. I volunteered one about a brutal Baptist baptism where the preacher dunked me underwater in a stream. Turns out that wasn't me, it was my older sister. I'd watched her suffer through this ordeal and adopted the memory as my own. Having never been baptized, I've been taking communion illegally all these years. It's just one more thing for me to feel guilty about.

The discussion turned to the fact that my mother was convinced we'd all contracted chicken pox as children. Which is why I'd figured it was safe to play poker at my friend's house even though his daughter had come down with it. Wrong! I wound up in intensive care as a result of my high fever and a series of grand mal seizures. If chicken pox can do this to you, I don't even want to think about smallpox.

Memory lapses must run in my family. All I recollect about the blur that was my twenties is this smoking party where this chick I'd just met cooed, "No matter what you do, never use me." She then proceeded to plant a slobbery kiss on my lips. You don't forget something like that.

My first childhood memory is of coming home from church at age five. I hastened to shed my dress clothes in favor of something more comfortable. My mom told me to leave them on as Easter pictures were planned. The photographer was late, and I threw a fit. When he arrived at last we all went down to a heretofore forbidden meadow adjacent to the bistro that doubled as our home. We three kids posed on a boulder with bunny rabbits bounding about the waist-high grass. My mood brightened somewhat as I tried to determine which one was the actual Easter Bunny on hand to hide the plastic eggs.

Soon thereafter I began school at Willston School, which made national TV after sniper John Lee Malvo shot a Home Depot shopper dead from there. That year the seventeen year locusts emerged en masse. I can still hear that crunching sound they make when you trample their carcasses. And that's it. That's about all I remember about my early years. Guess that ten (15) year binge wiped out the neurons where it was stored.

Enough of my pointless blather. Let's hear from readers as to their earliest memories in life.

comments (11)


The Worst Date EVER ...

by effenheimer at 03:01 PM on January 28, 2003

Since MG is busy whoring, I thought I better fill in with some bits of whimsy. Especially since I am busy trying to write a column and can't seem to muster anything up. I need to get my engine revving. Like a crappy car, I can't squeal my tires witout red-lining the engine first.

I appreciate what Linz had to say about dating. I myself have been so out of the dating game that I don't think I was ever in it to be honest.

I did have the worst date ever last October when I was on hiatus from BS. So I will show you mine, then you can show me your ... WORST DATE EVER! It'll be FUN? Not shooting horse with William S. Burroughs fun, obviously, but grandma's birthday party fun nonetheless.

As you may or may not know, I am a reporter/columnist at the daily nonpareil in council bluffs iowa. In a small city like mine, it doesn't take much to be the biggest celebrity in town. So I am not bragging when I say I honestly can't think of anyone in this town besides the mayor who is better known than I am. It is necessary to tell you these things only because I occasionally draw freaks because of this and I don't want you wondering why that is.

So this chick, we'll call her Mary, ran for school board recently in Council Bluffs. She lost, but I had occasion to run into professionally on more than one occasion. We had a professional lunch one day, I would see her out and she would look at me all impressed and wide eyed like I was the kind of guy who could not only make a difference in our city, but could bring her to edge of ecstasy with little to no effort. And I could, believe me. I know what the ladies like, I can take my time and figure things out and I don't get mine til you get yours, trust me, I'm a gentleman.

Then one day when I saw her out and about we realize we graduated from HS the same year, she starts telling me about her divorce and suggests that we might go out and have fun sometime (while making this weirdass pot smoking, pinched finger sign). Whatever, it was like making a date with a narc.
Now, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to put 2 and 2 together and one of the things I have been looking forward to most about getting older is divorcees. Right about now, all the women my age who married jackasses are getting divorced and looking to have some fun. They are just now cruising into their sexual peak, they have been broken in like a fine riding horse and they are fully prepared to get involved with a stud like me with NO STRINGS ATTACHED 'cause I don't want ANY STRINGS BABY.

So Mary seems decent enough, plus I heard rumors she was wild in high school. Combine that with her recently divorced status and that is some love that will melt your face, Slappy!

We emailed a few times, talked on the phone, made our plans. And she starts to get slowly more and more worked up. I was honest. I told her I wanted one thing and I wanted that in the red hot monkey variety. I didn't want to stay over unless i passed out from blood loss, I didn't want to take her kids to Chuck E. Cheese or go for long walks on the shores of Lake Manawa. Frankly, I didn't want to have to spend a lot of money on anything but tequila and condoms either, but i was willing to spring for a burger.

Well, apparently, her idea of "FUN" involved at least one date. I figured that was the least I could do so I suggest we go to the drive-in (we have one of those here, it's pretty cool) and its fun to get mess around in a car in public. She seems to like that suggestion.

So there I was on a Friday writing my nards off. I got up at 5 am and couldnt sleep so I wrote my Saturday column and a 15-inch story by 7 am then went and interviewed some tweeker skel out to the county jail who got kicked in the mouth by a woman when he tried to break into her car to steal whatever he could find to buy his meth, then home for a quick nap, then off to cover a parade for two hours (I hate parades), then back to the office to write up the parade and write up the story about the woman who kicked the tweeker in the mouth because THAT was going on page one, above the fold the next day.
I was beat. I got the diabetes, I wasn't in the mood for a date and the later it got the harder it was to write. It was especially hard with "MARY" calling me every 20 minutes cause she was all excited about our big date, which is another thing I thought i could avoid by "dating" a 35 year old divorcee.

I pick her up around 8:30, she's had a couple of drinks because she is just so nervous about going to see a movie in my hyundai that she needed some nerve tonic – enough to make her puke twice. I think it rather odd she would tell me this, but then she told me so many odd things like "I'm on my rag" and "mind if I spit, i have a mouth full of phlegm" and "I can't believe we missed "sweet home alabama."

cont'd »

comments (27)


Of A Bad Play Where The Heroes Are Right

by anna at 09:32 AM on January 28, 2003

Every year the Super Bowl extravaganza is the highest rated program by far. Yet there's always a lot of folks who loudly proclaim that they didn't pay it any mind. I am here to confess that I suffered through the entire orgy of materialism. I even caught a few snippets of the contest itself, which turned out to be a one-sided rout. Two points: 1) Props to the Dixie Chicks for their straightforward rendition of the National Anthem, which was blessedly free of those vocal histrionics one often hears. No props to Celine Dion for her reading of God Bless America, delivered as if someone were tormenting her with a cattle prod. 2) I found it kinda sad to see washed-up 20th century icons Michael Jordan and Arnold Schwarzeneger being wrung for every last drop of their commercial potential.

What kept my eyes riveted to the set were ABC's relentless promos for the show awarded that coveted post-Bowl slot, Alias. This was my first and last exposure to the stylish spy drama. It opened with a fetching Jennifer Garner all dolled up in black lingerie and wielding a riding crop. This wasn't enough for her one-man audience, who bid her to switch into a red getup. Soon enough the pair was writhing in bed. That is, until she produced some sort of garotte and started strangling the poor sap. "What was wrong with the black one," she demanded to know. Lest anyone miss this eye-popping sequence, ABC reran it in its entirety.

Now there's no denying the sultry allure Ms. Garner brings to the table. Aside from her stunning physique she boasts those collagen-swollen lips popularized by Angelina Jolie and that Dark Angel heroine. All three of whom display fierce kung-fu fighting skills, the better to kick feeble men's asses silly.

Garner's acting talent is another story altogether. She doesn't emote so much as purse her pouty kisser. She recites her lines as if heavily sedated. Mannequins are more expressive.

Not that it matters a whit, since innovative screenwriting is what sustains popularity in a TV series. From All in the Family to Ally McBeal, the writing outshone the cast. Few would hold Carroll O'Connor or Rob Reiner up as stellar examples of thespian talent. Just as Calista Flockhart's bony ass didn't make anyone forget Lucille Ball.

Alas, the same can't be said of Alias. My primary quibble with its writers is their choice of villains. Garner and Co. do battle with a shadowy cabal known as The Alliance. It is comprised of old white men of German or Russian lineage. As far as I could tell, its ranks do not include a single Muslim fanatic. Never mind the fact that the real-life CIA's sole fixation is on al Qaeda and its cohorts. Or that this nation has been under continual attack from Islamic extremists going back 30 years. Or that Western casualties in this ongoing conflict number well into the thousands.

My guess is that it's either plain cowardice or a desire to take the path of least resistance that led them to craft the show in this fallacious way. Either that or it's the question of wardrobe. Were Garner to tangle with Muslim zealots, she'd have to blend in with the Arab populace. This would entail donning (and shedding) an unsightly, head-to-toe burqa. Hardly the optimal way to showcase her estimable assets. Far better to stuff her into black leather slacks so snug it's a wonder she can even walk let alone kick-box.

Evidently, I am not alone in my disenchantment with Alias. Talk about a letdown for ABC suits. Serves 'em right if you ask me.

comments (6)


sometimes you think you're gonna get it but you don't and that's just the way it goes

by mg at 03:40 AM on January 27, 2003

I’m not much of a whore.

Hanging out Saturday night, the conversation turned to sex, as any conversation involving a group of inebriated adults does. Now, if we were a group of really inebriated adults, we all would have just dropped trou and orgied right there on the karaoke bar floor.

Sure, we talked about butt plugs and genital warts, but eventually the topic turned from warm frivolities to cold, hard numbers. Now, it was obvious when we started down that road, considering I was in a room of gay men and bi women, but I’ve had the least number of sexual partners. What was surprising was that I had the least partners by a factor of a hundred.

Yesterday being Sunday, I thought about sex all day. Apparently, there was some sort of “Super Bowl” on. I was too busy thinking about sex to have anything do with it. I even skipped church. Okay, I did get to church, but I just thought about sex the whole time. Come on though, when the vicar slips that communion wafer in your mouth, what could be sexier?

And after all that thinking I decided I want to be a whore. I’m still young, I should be out banging hot chicks left and right. No more will I see a pretty girl in a coffee shop and be afraid to talk to her. Not only am I going to talk to those girls, but I’m going to fuck them right there on the Starbucks sofa. Damn, in order to get my numbers up, I might even start sleeping with dudes.

In fact, I’m having sex with a chick as I’m typing this. Lkfd’lkj dfsa’jkp asdfjk; asdfpkj’ ads’kjf adsjk’ asdfjkkja;ldsl;dsfklja; asjd;kdsa;lsadf;adsf;jkld’a aoeopaepegaooaoj’pa’. All I’m saying is, buy stock in Trojan.

comments (16)


Fritter And Waste The Hours In An Offhand Way

by anna at 09:32 AM on January 26, 2003

I'm constantly hounding my son about wearing deodorant. He's 12, yet hasn't quite grasped that deodorant application is an everyday obligation. I do this because I want him to be accepted by his peers. I want him to enjoy a healthy social life. I do not want him brooding alone.

When your child has a tough go of it socially, it's as if it is happening to you. Childhood traumas come flooding back. You reel in the agony of a sucker-punch to the gut. Your head is stuffed into a grimy toilet bowl anew.

Children's cruelty knows no bounds, and misfits bear the brunt of it. Thus the question isn't why Columbine occured but why schoolyard massacres aren't more commonplace.

And that's why I hate that dating service commercial where the priest implores the congregation to voice any objections they may have to an impending marriage. A man sheepishly allows that he's gotten quality dates as a result of his affiliation with Emboldened by his admission, others follow suit. The underlying premise being that loneliness is a shameful condition, a scourge to be combated.

It's no surprise that such terms as "loner," "aloof," "hermit" and "austerity" carry negative stigmas. Greta Garbo raised eyebrows with her "I want to be alone" pronouncement. (Actually she said, "I want to be left alone," but that's nitpicking.) Fact is, sociable types hold their bashful counterparts in disdain. Those who'd rather go it alone are considered defective in a way. People assume that if they could forge relationships, they would.

Conversely, I relish my time alone. I fritter away untold hours surfing the porn-strewn Net, which by definition is done by oneself. I also love to soak in the bathtub, working crossword puzzles that inevitably wind up sopping wet. It is hard to do a wet crossword.

One day, while online alone doing research for my book, I chanced upon this. (The actual site doesn't exist anymore, or at least I couldn't find it.) At first I thought, what could be any more ridiculous than a club for recluses? But the more I pondered it, the more sense it made. Just because one prizes time alone doesn't mean he or she shuns all human contact. Even loners crave companionship sometimes; which is why we're hosting a Super Bowl shindig today. Red-hot chili! Buffalo wings with blue cheese dip! Beer!

comments (7)


and when the samba played the sun would set so high ring through my ears and sting my eyes

by mg at 07:34 AM on January 26, 2003

The first all-nighter of my graduation education and, like most of the all-nighters of my undergraduate education, it had nothing to do with class.

To be fair, I did have class yesterday morning. So far my Friday 8:30 A.M. and Saturday 9:30 AM classes aren’t treating me so badly. Sure, it’s only the start of the second week of the semester, but I was certain I’d have overslept at least one, most likely both, of those mornings. But, yesterday, tired as I’ve been all week, I made it onto campus with enough time to spare for me to pop into Dunkin’ Donuts and pick up special #1 (two donuts, any variety, and a medium coffee, lots of sugar and lots of crème).

After class I had a late brunch with some old high school pals. After that very long meal I headed home aiming for a little quality midday naptime. Unfortunately, I ended up grocery shopping and cleaning house, two things I hadn’t done in a solid two weeks. I can’t complain about missing my siesta, since I really needed to clean (the dust bunny in my bedroom had become a warren) and shop (I could house a warren of real bunnies without having to remove any of the “food” inside).

When party time rolled around, I hit Manhattan for dinner and drinks with some pretty cool people. After dinner, we stopped for more drinks. And then some more drinks. And then some more drinks. At some point in the night they decided it was time to pop my karaoke cherry.

I fought, but I was drunk and tired. I didn’t think I’d have a good time, but as Love Shack started up, I was wearing next to nothing and hot as an oven. We ended up closing the bar down (also the first time I’ve done that since college), and headed to Odessa for more drinks (milk shakes this time).

Finally, I headed back home sweet home. I walked into my door at the exact second my alarm clock, still set at the same time to wake me the morning before, was going off again for this morning. Seriously, the exact same time. It was spooky.

And, as dead tired as I am, I felt the need to sit down and document this, because it’s highly unlikely I’ll have much recollection of the night. Now, about 25 hours since I woke up Saturday morning, I’m going to go lie down. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten how to sleep.

comments (7)


There is a whole lotta Greek goin' on in this one

by effenheimer at 01:45 PM on January 24, 2003

“Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.” – George Orwell

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” – Kris Kristopherson

Question. What are we so angry about?


Yeah, that’ll happen.

I love it when people write letters to the editor responding to my last column and claim they stopped reading it nearly a year ago. Who do they think they’re kidding? I quote Judd Nelson from one of the greatest teen flicks of all time, “The Breakfast Club,” when I say, Sweets, you couldn’t ignore me if you tried.

Alison Moyet should be much more famous than she is. Conversely, Christina Aguilera’s own mother shouldn’t be able to pick her out of a lineup.

American cheese really isn’t that bad. Unfortunately, the average American has only ever had processed American cheese food singles that don’t count as American cheese or even as cheese. In truth, American cheese is a mild cheddar that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic sheets and next to impossible to get because everyone thinks American cheese is actually that stuff in the plastic. It’s a shame really.

You don’t have to be gay to love Judy Garland, but it helps.

Be careful who you pretend to be, because, ultimately, you are who you pretend to be.

I wonder if the people who remind us that no one said life was supposed to be fair will be as open-minded when they are the first ones against the wall when the revolution comes? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say no.

I could never live outside of the Midwest. It isn’t the people, the weather or the high quality of life so much as it is the Taco John’s. There really is a whole lot of Mexican goin’ on there. If I had a gyro place, I would call it Gyro Greg’s and my advertising campaign would be “There’s a whole lotta Greek goin’ on, goin’ on at Gyro Greg’s.”

Anti-depressants really aren’t happy pills, they just deaden everything so you can function normally. Anti-depressants are like gloves for people with extra-sensitive hands. Ecstasy on the other hand...

I can’t concentrate. Could I be pregnant?

Whatever happened to “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place?” Is that show still on or did I just dream it?

I don’t have the kind of money it takes to be really sadistic to people. Thank God for reality shows. I am particularly fond of “Meet my Folks” for its heavy-handed, unabashedly misogynistic format.

Apparently, the greatest advancement for women since the push-up bra is a pad with velcro on it. I didn’t even realize the push-up bra was considered one of the greatest advancement for women. I thought that honor might go to something like birth control, voting rights or the right to own property. I guess I was wrong.

comments (2)


I'm Down to One Last Breath,And With It Let Me Say...

by anna at 10:37 PM on January 23, 2003

Hi, it's me, Anna Landers. What, you'd thought I'd died? Well, to quote Ellen DeGeneras, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

I must respectfully disagree with my twin sister's response to Vic in North Carolina. Last I checked, pimping remains illegal in North Carolina and 48 other states. Vic solicited a prostitute to alleviate his pal's virginity, and now must face the consequences. He's lucky those don't include a visit from the police.

Not so had he resided in Nevada, where prostitition and betting on sports events are thriving industries. Is this fair? I think not. Consider the case of a prostitute and her john straddling the California-Nevada border as they consummated their transaction. One could be hauled off to jail while the other might flounce away scot-free.

Further consider the case of a convicted numbers runner who must watch TV commercials sponsored by State-run numbers rackets. How could any right-thinking person reconcile that in their mind?

Most everyone has partaken of an illicit substance. For all I know, you're taking bong hits as you read this. Many have either prostituted themselves, come damn close to it or paid for sex. (Don't forget those bachelor parties. She didn't do that for free.) And who hasn't bet in the office football, NCAA or death pools?

There is no way to balance the State's desire to curtail this sort of activity and the populace's affinity for it. The failure of the so-called"War on Drugs" proves that beyond a doubt.

Oh, you thought I had a pat solution to this vexing problem? Think again. I'm just an advice columnist and a dead one at that.

comments (3)


some people search forever for that one special kiss

by mg at 12:19 AM on January 23, 2003

If you were at all entertained by American Idol you probably already know that the second year began last night. If, like me, you didn’t catch on to last year’s show until the later episodes and the only contestants left were the “best of the best,” I want to encourage you to really tune into these first couple weeks.

Heck, even if you thought the show was ridiculous and hateful, I encourage you to watch. These first couple weeks aren’t about talent, they are about the complete lack of talent, shame, or basic human dignity. To see these kids make complete fools of themselves, it sad and funny, and not to be missed.

Next Tuesday’s show, is the last episode of the first round of auditions. I caught tonight’s show, and saw some of the worst performances I’ve witnessed since my days in vaudeville, and there were even more people in black face. Some of these kids were so bad, I swung all the way from making fun and wishing death (or at least some vocal cord debilitating accident), to wanting to give them a big hug and tell them “everything is going to be all right honey.”

As the weeks march on the hopeful idols’ numbers dwindle. We learn more about their deaf parents, trailer park childhoods, and hair styling secrets. Eventually, performances turn from cringe-worthy to applause-worthy. While there is only one ultimate winner, there reaches a point where every one of the contestants deserves a recording contract.

But, there is something to be said for the losers, don’t you think?

Personally, I’d much rather watch the losers than the winners. On Saturday nights, when I’m home drinking alone and quietly sobbing to myself, the only thing that makes me feel better is getting to see amateur night on It’s Showtime at the Apollo. Just this weekend the Apollo audience booed a six year-old off the stage. And, while I’m no television producer, the current success of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, screams this is the perfect time to bring back The Gong Show.

You know, as much as I like seeing people fail, I don’t much like the feeling myself. Once again Bad Samaritan is absent from the final ballots of an award show to remain nameless. Nikolai will die for this. I’m not saying I’ll have anything to do with his death, but I think it’s a pretty sure thing going to predict that at some point, some time in the very distant future, that bastard will die.

With the one weblog award not entirely out of the realm of possibility, there are still the Anti-Bloggies to look forward to. I really think I’ve got a chance of wi… ah, fuck it; I’ve got no chance and I might as well just accept it sooner rather than later. I’m going to go practice my scales and dance moves, now.

comments (9)


It Ain't Me, It Ain't Me, I Ain't No Fortunate Son

by anna at 07:46 AM on January 22, 2003

As a lifelong resident of the Washington DC suburbs, I hope I can provide some unique perspective on the protests. When I first caught wind of it, I breathed a sigh of relief. The rally would be staged over a weekend, which meant its impact on my commute would amount to nothing. See, though it's just 14 miles long, it can take up to 45 minutes. On Friday afternoons, it can stretch into torturous eons. We locals attribute this to the fact that lawmakers hole up in their downtown hotels all week the better to churn out more inscrutable rules for y'all to flout. Come Friday, they bust out en masse.

Here the natives have forged an uneasy love/hate relationship with our Federal occupying army. On the upside, they're constantly moving in and out which serves to inflate real estate values. On the downside, they clog up our roadways something awful. Thus, when the government shut down several years back, we all rejoiced. We wished the damn nuisance had stayed shuttered for good.

Sensing this, local media tends to give short shrift to both Federal goings-on and the constant stream of protesters it attracts. Whenever Ruckus Society and Mobilization for Global Justice have the audacity to stage rallies during the week, reports focus on their impact on traffic. To avoid any contact with the unwanted visitors, alternate routes are suggested. If reporters ever mention these kooks' agenda, it's in a lighthearted, dismissive vein. They mention the "Drop Panties, Not Bombs" banners or scoff at marchers' demand that they be allowed to ransack the Washington Navy Yard in search of weapons of mass destruction. And most of us agree---when Ruckus staged a "die-in" on the 14th Street Bridge, we only hoped police would hurl their asses into the Potomac.

How dare they delay our arrival at work?

Sometimes the protests take an ugly turn. That's when police have to break out their tear gas, bean bag guns and plastic handcuffs. (Note the Simpsons reference on link.)

I have never toured the White House, Washington Monument or Capitol Hill. Indeed, no local visits the monuments unless out-of-town guests insist on it. It's like when I was in Queens, NY 3 months after Sept 11. I wanted to pay my respects at Ground Zero, but my brother-in-law tried to dissuade me, saying it had turned into a tourist trap rife with gawking out-of-towners.

We know it will prove to be a monumental hassle, what with busloads of yahoo tourists all gaga over their national heritage or whatever it is that draws them here in droves. My family does frequent the District's plethora of museums, however. (BTW, that's what it's called, much like New Yorkers refer to Manhattan as the City.) Last weekend, in fact, we'd planned to drag my son a-kicking and a-screaming from his X-Box lair to check out the Holocaust Museum. Plans nixed when I learned of the antiwar nightmare downtown. Damned Metro would have been so crowded we'd have had to stand up for the entire ride downtown. Maybe we'll shoot for next weekend, unless another contingent of disgruntled freaks descend on this peaceful hamlet again.

comments (9)


and then you put your arms around me and we tumble to the ground

by mg at 11:54 AM on January 21, 2003

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the frenetic pace around here recently, but I don’t think I’m out of line by asking “where the hell is everybody?”

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bad news: bush takes startling anti-war stance in honor of mlk

by mg at 11:26 AM on January 20, 2003

WASHINGTON — President Bush marked Martin Luther King Day today with a visit to a largely African-American church, where he met privately with parishioners before attending a memorial service in honor of the slain civil rights leader.

At the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, the president discussed the current threat of war. Bush announced that in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tradition of nonviolent protest that he personally guarantees the United States will not go to war. Against North Korea.

King was a valiant crusader of civil rights through nonviolent protest in the United States, but was also a staunch critic of the Vietnam War. “Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said, Bush, “believed we should have a greater concern for the human casualties of war. He said, that ‘when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.’ He and I see eye to eye to eye on that one.”

Bush added, “That is why we will not be invading North Korea. Any oil we might find there could not possibly be worth the potential for loss in human life.”

Bush said his decision was also based, in part, with the past two days of anti-war rallies in Washington D.C. “I looked out the Oval Office window,” said Bush, “and saw all those people standing out there in the cold for what they believe. I realized I’ve been misunderestimating the country’s resolve for war, but if all those people are out there believing in their beliefs, then I’ll redouble my administration’s efforts to reach a peaceful solution in North Korea.”

In King’s April 4, 1967 speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, he also said that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Bush declared he agrees with King and in addition to the $40 billion increase in defense spending this year, his administration will increase spending by 5 percent for grants to historically black colleges, universities and graduate programs. That’ll bring the total for those education programs well into the ones of thousands of dollars.

When one of the parishioners questioned Bush about Iraq, he responded by saying “We’re sure going to kill a lot of those sand-niggers.”

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she wore a raspberry beret, and if it was warm she wouldn't wear much more

by mg at 08:16 AM on January 18, 2003

There is a tradition in my family, stretching back to September 6th, 1982, my first day of kindergarten. Each year, on the first day of school, I wear a completely new suit of clothes. That means new shirt, new underwear, new socks, and even new shoes. Every year.

Now, part of that is to always start something new wearing something completely new. I always thought of it as a merely psychological thing, starting a new endeavor without any old shit dragging me down, but as I’ve gotten older I realized that it was probably more pragmatic than all that. Growing up, I’d put so much wear and tear on my clothes over the summer that if my mom had sent me into school wearing any outfit in my wardrobe, the state would have promptly taken me away from her and put me in a home. Looking back, that might not have been such a bad thing – a couple weeks in a foster home and I’m pretty sure I still wouldn’t be a 26 year-old virgin.

Still, I like to pretend that there is a psychological advantage to starting a new school year (and more recently, a new job) with a new outfit, so much so that when I started dressing myself (in my junior year of college) I continued the tradition on my own. Each fall semester began with completely new attire. Sure, during some of those college years I started the year with a mix of clothing that came with the tags still attached and Salvation Army finds, but, hey, if I’ve never worn those bikini briefs before, aren’t they still new to me?

The point is my first class is this morning and I needed to wear something new today.

As Rannie can attest, I’ve enough socks and underwear to last me an entire month without doing laundry or wearing stinky unmentionables (I folded laundry in front of him, get your minds out of the gutter). While I haven’t done any sort of official count, I’m pretty sure there are enough shirts hanging in my closet to get through at least a month, but I’ve only got enough shoes to get me through sixteen days without lacing up the same set of loafers twice. I’ve only half that many handbags.

The point (get to the point, man!) is that I didn’t need any new clothing. But, if I wanted my undertaking with graduate education to not end up a complete waste of time I needed some new clothing. When I came out of my shopping induced coma, I found that I’d apparently needed two new pairs of pants, three new shirts, three sets of boxer briefs, and six pair of socks.

At this very moment, I should be heading out the door, making sure I’m not late to my first class. Instead I’m frantically running around my apartment deciding what to wear (and writing this stupid entry). Now, I know the indecision about what to wear isn’t over the decision to wear anything. It really isn’t. Three shirts and two pants only yield six different combinations. Just wait until those items make it into my regular rotation and the decision I have to make is between 162,000 outfit combinations (counting shoes and jackets); that’s when things will get tough.

No, my indecision has more to do with being nervous about starting something new. It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything completely new in my life and I’m more than a little bit scared. But, I’m not too scared – I’m wearing clean underwear. How do I know they’re clean? Because they’re brand new.

Ah crap, time to run. Wish me luck.

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I hope You Have the Time of Your Life

by anna at 07:09 PM on January 17, 2003

Linz posting about her band got me to musing about my love/hate relationship w/ modern music. Although I am aged, I do try to keep somewhat current. You see, I can't stand the tunes from my generation because money-grubbing radio programmers played them to death years ago.

So I listen to the radio while trapped in traffic. Most of what I hear either sounds as if it were manufactured on a corporate assembly line or is so morose it begets suicidal tendencies. But once in a while, something catches my ear. Toe-tapping commences. Problem is, the DJ never identifies the artist/title anymore. Oh sure, I know I could research it online but who's got time for that?

Years ago I heard Sixth Avenue Heartache for the first time. It spoke to me, and I dug the languid beat. I hotfoot it over to the local CD outlet, only to realize I don't know what the fuck it's called. Which left me with three unsavory options: 1) Do without the tape. 2) Sing a few bars to the clerk in hopes that he'll recognize it. 3) Describe the song to him. Since I sing like a walrus barking, #2 was out. I opted for #3: "The singer sounds kind of raspy and he's saying something about a homeless guy with guitars who dies," I prompted the pimply-faced punk. "That would be Sixth Avenue Heartache by the Wallflowers," came the snide reply. I could discern from his smirk that he considered it way too mainstream for his taste. Calling upon something I'd read in Rolling Stone, I asked, "Say, isn't that Bob Dylan's son?" "I really wouldn't know about that ma-am. The band is called the Wallflowers. I could show you..." I was crushed. Ma-am? I'm like, hip!

The exact same humilating scenario played itself out when Green Day's The Time of Your Life caught my ear. "Aren't they the same guys who did Come Out and Play," I badgered the bored-looking clerk. "No, that would be the Offspring." To this day I'm trying to figure out who does that number where a guy in the background keeps going, "Shut the door baby, don't say a word." But I refuse to go through the music store ordeal again.

Pathetic, huh? Well, I've got news for y'all. Though you probably don't think about it much, tucked deep in the back of your mind is a Plan For Life. When the time seems right, you'll marry, start having kids, shed your hedonistic trappings and become Responsible Adults like your parents. You'll trade the snazzy Volkswagen Gulf for an SUV and in the final concession, that dreaded minivan. Before long you'll be coaching soccer teams, pitching in @ school fundraisers and walking around as if you've got a stick lodged up your ass. (Or maybe you haven't given it a moment's thought. I know I didn't until my late twenties.)

If my experience is any indication, it ain't going to happen. Sure, the Adult Events will transpire, but inside you'll still feel just as you do today. Myself, I've waited fifteen years to start feeling like a Real Adult. Instead, I find myself explaining Wallflowers songs to boys young enough to be my son.

What's more, Bringing Down the Horse remains among my son's favorite tapes. I turned him on to it. We rock, really we do.

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Breathe, Breathe, Breathe you fucker ... BREEEEAAAATHE!!

by effenheimer at 04:41 PM on January 17, 2003

“Firey the Angels rose, & as they rose deep thunder roll’d / Around their shores, indignant burning with the fires of Orc” –William Blake, “America: A Prophecy”

Every age group believes that the new generation of kids is spoiled rotten. That may or may not be the case. But why is it always what the previous generation DIDN’T have that makes kids spoiled today? “When I was a kid, we had to get up and change the channel on our black and white TV using a knob. We didn’t have ‘remote controls’ and ‘color.’ We had to wait five minutes just for the TV to warm up so we could watch it!”

I can just see me in a few years. “When I was a kid, the most popular video game was Pong. It was ping-pong without the ping ... barbaric. We had Pop Rocks for candy and if you drank a Coke while eating them your head would explode.”

I’m sure the first homo sapiens had to listen to his grandparents go on, too. “When I was your age we didn’t stand FULLY erect. We stood three quarters erect and we were happy about it. And we didn’t have fire either. If we wanted to keep warm we had to cut open a bear and the bear didn’t just LET you cut him open, I can tell you that."

In the future, the kids we think of as spoiled will complain as well, I’m sure. “Back in 2003, we didn’t have androids to play with, if we wanted friends, we had to use people. We didn’t have virtual reality game systems, we had to play games on TV or on the Internet and you could tell they weren’t real.”

This is dedicated to Larry King, Andy Rooney and Dave Barry if it’s not too late.

Like him or not, Garth Brooks may be the greatest entertainer in human history.

Butter is better. If you really can’t believe I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is not butter, I weep for you.

Dogs beat cats any day. I’m sorry, but cats are just weird, self-centered beasties. Why you choose to clean up their feces is something you will one day have to answer for.

Cartoons aren’t just for kids, especially cartoons with a lot of sexual situations and swearing.

You say tomatuh and I say tomater. Let’s call the whole thing off. No, seriously, let’s.

Le Grand Salon is French for the Big Salon.

Whatever happens, don’t look down.

Don’t dream it, be it.

I do a mean imitation of an entire “Law & Order” episode.

Extra virgin olive oil is not for cooking. Some people ask how something can be “extra” virgin as though it either is or it isn’t. I think I’ve met a few extra virgins in my life.

Meg Ryan is just a little TOO precious. What is she like 50-something?

All that air in a bag of chips is there to keep the chips from getting crushed. Why people can’t figure that out is beyond me.

Why do I need Uncle Ben to make garlic and butter rice? Rice, butter, garlic, done!

Hindus don’t actually worship cows. That is a vicious stereotype. Hindus are vegetarians. India has a high population and few trees. Dry cow pies burn like firewood. Dead cows don’t poop.

While we’re on the subject, don’t whip the onion soup mix into the sour cream. Fold it. All you’re doing is making a mess.

I am so over “Will & Grace” it isn’t even funny. I also really liked the episode of “Friends” where Ross pines for Rachel ... six years ago!

I don’t think “Saturday Night Live” is any less funny today than it was in the ’70s, people were just more stoned back then. The last half hour of SNL always stunk.

You know who’s not afraid of failing? Failures. It’s a done deal. You can’t fear losing what you’ve already lost. Don’t fail to act for fear of failing. Push it. Weight lifters lift until they fail in order to succeed in becoming stronger. A lot of things are like that.

Any other cell phone users out there ever get an itchy ear thing going on. It’s driving me crazy. I hope it’s not a tumor.

In the future, there will be no countries, just multinational corporations that own everything. No history, no war, no disease, no famine, no strife, no freedom, no complaints.

Deckard was a replicant. It’s pretty obvious when you think about it.

Say what you will, but a guy who can shoot himself in the head and not die has a future in local politics.

Being immortal sounds cool in retrospect. For example, it seems like it would have been cool to have been alive for the last 400 years, but imagine living for the NEXT 400 years not knowing what comes next. Most people I know can’t get it together enough for one lifetime let alone 50 or more.

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see, it's not about races, just places, faces

by mg at 11:33 AM on January 16, 2003

There is a case that will be going before the Supreme Court in a few months that takes the closest look at Affirmative Action policies since 1978.

The case involves the University of Michigan law school. During the year in question they received only 35 applications from minority students and more than 900 from white students. Yet, the school traditionally admited an entering class made up of 12 to 20% minority students. That means a minority student is 5 times more likely to be admitted than a white student equivalent in all academic and extracurricular ways.

One of the rejected students (of course it was a rejected student) felt this system to be a tad bit unfair and decided to sue. The student in question was accepted and already graduated from another school, but the case is currently pending arguments before the Supreme Court.

Yesterday, President Bush weighed in, announcing he will send a brief to the Court supporting a decision that the Michigan policy is tantamount to a quota system, and therefore unconstitutional.

Now, I’m a republican and usually agree with everything President Bush tells me, but here I think he is wrong. Not only do I believe race should be a factor in college admissions and employment considerations, I think it should be the sole factor in these types of decisions.

I know that when I am looking for a lawyer, I want him to be Jewish. Law schools should have a 100% admissions policy for Jewish applicants. Michigan gives a 20 point bonus (on a 150 point scale) to minority students now – Jewish students should get a 170 point bonus.

And, when I’m looking for a doctor… I want him to be Jewish too. But when I’m looking for an accountant… I’m still looking for a Jew. What the hell - why do people hate the Jews again? Just remember this, Mr. Jew-Hater: that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this world. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? And also for you not to try to kill them?

Anyway, when I’m looking for a basketball player (any athlete, really) I want him to be black. Ditto any musician (besides country and classical, who I want to be a red-neck and an Eastern European or Asian, respectively). Balets should have a 100% Russian quota. Operas, 100% Italian. You better believe that when I need some to wash my dishes or changes my sheert, I’m damn sure going to have a 100% Latino hiring policy. When I’m looking for someone to make me laugh, it’s 100% sure it’s going to be a man. And, when I head to the Virgin Megastore to pick up the latest rock-rap CD, I’ve got a 100% spoiled white suburban kids quota.

See, quotas aren’t a bad thing, President Bush. We all know your foreign policy contains a 100% Arabian invasion quota. So, keep your nose out of the perfectly reasonable policies of our nation’s institutions of higher learning and get busy on the plans to topple the oppressive and dangerous regime in Qatar I hear they have a really big stick now.

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Rough Boys, Don't Walk Away. I Want to Buy You Leather!

by anna at 07:05 PM on January 14, 2003

Among my fondest memories are of high-octane concerts staged by acts that sadly are now commercialized parodies of themselves, like Aerosmith. I saw Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band touring behind Born in the USA. Ditto for the Stones and their raucous classic Exile on Main Street (dating myself here.) Even the famously erratic Led Zeppelin pulled themselves together long enough to deliver a tight set. My friends and I wheedled our way backstage @ Little Feat, Grateful Dead and Bad Co. shows. I found bandmembers personable to a man, particularly the late Lowell George.

Not all my memories are so winsome, however. I witnessed Eric Clapton forgoing lead solos in favor of obscure sessions men. Stephen Stills fell off his piano stool in a drunken stupor. At a George Harrison show, rude fans booed sitar player Ravi Shankar off the stage. A gaunt Stevie Nicks made Whitney Houston look vibrant. The Dead spirited my pal's date away for a spirited sesion of debauchery. Three days later she returned looking bedraggled and missing a Frye boot.

Just prior to Jerry Garcia's demise, a group of friends attended a Dead show for old times' sake. Nancy fell ill with a painful kidney ailment. She sought out a quiet place to lay down but wound up in the "cool-down room" instead. Deadhead staffers tried to reassure her and encourage her to "roll with the vibe." Tiring of their hippy-dippy tripe, she snarled, "Look goddammit, I'm not like you freaks. The only drug I'm on is Vicodin. Now leave me the fuck alone."

All those electrifying spectacles paled in comparison to the Who's windmill-strumming, scissor-kicking, microphone-hurling jams. From Keith Moon's frenetic drumming to Roger Daltrey's vocal histrionics, their shows were the stuff of legend. This was long before half the band died of wretched excess and the Who had degenerated into a pathetic caricature of itself.

In its heyday, the Who was the best live act going. Pete Townshend was its heart and soul.

Two of his compositions were said to embody an era. My Generation was widely viewed as a call-to-arms, a precursor to the rebellious Sixties. Just as critics hailed We Don't Get Fooled Again as affirmation of the revolution. Except according to Townshend, they weren't. My Generation was a throwaway inspired by newspaper headlines. We Don't Get Fooled Again ridiculed hippies (There's nothing in the streets looks any different to me.... Let's meet the new boss, same as the old boss.") More prophetic words have seldom been written.

Which is why one could only hope this tawdry business is a big misunderstanding. If it isn't, Townshend's career is finished and his legacy irrevocably tarnished.

Fools often seek to justify criminal behavior. Rape victims brought in on themselves by dressing provocatively. A thief stole to get money for his diabetic mom's insulin. The Menendez brother were justified in blowing their parents' heads off due to childhood abuse. Andrea Yates suffered from post-nasal depression. But pedophiles garner no sympathy. Fellow inmates make them their bitches. Hell, they even despise themselves as well they should.

Say it ain't so, Pete.

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fuck me? hey vonnegut, fuck you!

by mg at 11:48 AM on January 14, 2003

I’ve been thinking about heading back to school for almost as long as I’ve been out of school. I’ve been looking forward to this since before I even finished my graduate school application. And in just a couple days now, I’ll finally be heading back to school. Being a student again means I won’t have to worry about being a productive member of society for at least two more years, but with the prospect of homework, and reading, and tests – oh my! - I’m scared shitless.

It’s been three years since I’ve done anything vaguely academic, and, unlike sex (something else I haven’t done in three years), school isn’t like riding a bike. I’m terrified I’ve forgotten how to be a student. Which is really strange considering I spent 18 years of my very short life in school, and during that time I could hardly imagine any life besides homework, books and teacher’s dirty looks.

But, these three years off, they’ve made all the difference. I never made it over to the ‘Nam. I didn’t even go to Gulf War I. But, working really changed me. The real world (finally) made me a man. There is such freedom you gain from work. I’m really not sure if I can handle going back to school after living in the real world.

Sure, much of this time, I haven’t even had a damn job, but, how can I be expected, after all these years, to show up at a certain place and time for three whole classes a week? It’s going to be torture. It means I can only sleep late four days a week. Actually I can sleep late five days a week, since one of my classes isn’t until 6:30 pm, and I am usually up by then. But, still, starting next week I can only sleep late five days a week. It’s going to be torture.

And, unlike meetings at work, I’m going to actually have to pay attention in class. Instead of just playing Mahjong on my PDA while pretending to write things down and look interested, I’m going to actually write things down and be interested. Sure, I could probably still play games, but I probably should pay attention, because I might actually be required to remember and use the information I’m being given in the future, which is so different from work.

Seriously, has anyone ever been in a work meeting that was productive? And, in those rare situations that one is, someone has been tasked with writing up a summary of the meeting with a bulleted list of action items. I’m pretty sure no one does that for you in grad school. I bet there aren’t even students paid to take notes to sell at one of those off campus copy centers. This is going to be so hard.

I can’t even image what it’s going to be like to have to hand in papers again. At work, clients have to accept the projects I hand in, even if my work is sloppy and awful, because they are being charged several hundred dollars an hour for my time, and they don’t have the money to pay me to redo it the way they really wanted. If I hand in a crappy assignment in graduate school, I’m pretty much screwed; that shit goes on your permanent record.

Yeah, I’m heading back to school. Pray for me.

comments (13)


1 lb. flesh

by doyce at 01:31 AM on January 13, 2003

Perjure \Per"jure\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Perjured; p. pr. & vb. n. Perjuring.] 1. To cause to violate an oath or a vow; to cause to make oath knowingly to what is untrue; to make guilty of perjury; to forswear; to corrupt; -- often used reflexively; as, he perjured himself.

I wasn't in court today. I wasn't under oath. I perjured myself nonetheless.

I took a thing designed for truth-telling and used it to fabricate a falsehood. I think the worst part is that what I (mis)used in this fashion was something very close to me -- in doing this I sacrificed a portion of my integrity (and there's an outmoded word). I did this solely to create and perpetuate a falsehood that will make certain people happier than they are now. I don't care what these people think of me. I do care what they can do to me -- how they can affect my life and my family -- in the interests of protecting my status quo, I gave up something of myself.

It's a slippery road, I suppose -- snipping off little bits of yourself to keep things moving along -- I'm trying to ease the stress of it by telling myself that I'm just buying time while I work on a permanent change to the situation. Doesn't help much.

I'll tell you a secret: I despise personal drama, in myself or others. In my opinion there's nothing so uniquely horrible in a person's life that it hasn't happened to hundreds if not thousands of people before. That simple fact is enough to make me annoyed with this post even as I'm typing it. It's my nature.

But it needs typing. I want to acknowledge what I did and it seemed like something a bunch of bad samaritans could appreciate -- like reading about one more thing that causes cancer if you do it too much or hearing one more nail going into the coffin, this post is just a little more white noise confirming that we're all just about equally fucked up. I suppose there's some comfort in that.

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Suck and swallow like the filthy whore you are (not about strippers)

by effenheimer at 09:41 PM on January 11, 2003

Now, if there is one thing I know, it’s that people hate to be made to think especially when they might be made to think “hey, I’m a hypocrite.” If there are two things I know it is that fried pie is good.
Perhaps the single most important thing we can do as right-thinking, spiritually advanced sentient beings – besides enjoy fried pie – is to know ourselves, justify our moral beliefs and act according to a standard of behavior that can be equitably applied to all moral individuals. When we fail to live up to our own standards, we SHOULD be ashamed. We SHOULD feel guilty. We SHOULD change. Otherwise, what’s the point of religion, philosophy and mothers?
When confronted by challenges to our morality, we rationalize. We blame others. We attack examples. We expose the politics of our enemy. We don’t try to live up to our own standards, though.
I remember after 9/11, everyone was utterly willing to make any sacrifice to help out. Now encouraging fuel efficiency makes you a suspect. Hmmmmmm. Why is that? I guess it's OK to abandon our civil liberties, but let's not save money, let's not stop hogging oil. That goes against everything our corporate leaders fought so hard for in the 1970s. Gimme a break. This country is a whore being pimped out by greasy-fisted money men who will sell anything to anybody and call themselves patriots because capitalism replaced democracy as our raison d'etre a long time ago.

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Underneath It All

by anna at 09:03 AM on January 11, 2003

My high school history teacher was quite the fetching head-turner, along these lines. Miss Lutz, as she preferred to be called, sported auburn hair cascading well past her shoulders, strikingly green eyes and a killer body. She dressed provocatively as well, though to my knowledge her wardrobe didn't include any thigh-high boots. I do know her bra always matched her panties, which provoked much jealousy among female students.

See, she had this tendency to leave one too many buttons undone and favored miniskirts. I remember thinking she must be awfully clumsy since she was forever dropping her chalk and bending down to pick it up. Racier still, she'd perch her ass on a student's desktop to hold forth about Sherman's March or some such thing.

Naturally, opinions remained sharply divided along gender lines. Guys were mesmerized by her while catty gals theorized that the taut-bodied 33 year old must have made a pact with Satan. Accusations of favoritism toward certain strapping lads ran rampant. Yet everyone agreed that she did a good job. Stoners and short bus students alike excelled in history.

As if on cue, scurrilous rumors began to circulate. Word had it that for said lads, detention needn't be such a tedious ordeal. That is, no more than Bill's trysts with Monica were. To top it off, she'd, uh...consummate the dirty deed, which was all but unheard-of in those days of spitting. Or so it was said. Anyway, it wasn't long before she disappeared. The principal maintained that she'd elected to pursue other employment avenues, but everyone knew better.

I hadn't given Miss Lutz a moment's thought until the sordid Mary Kay Letourneau saga emerged, spawning sympathetic books, movies and even a fan club. More recently I spied her youthful lover on TV, moping about how he'd been victimized by this sexual predator, robbed of his childlike innocence and what-have-you. I didn't buy into his mewling, and neither did a Seattle jury.

Here's my take: A female teacher giving a little hands-on tutelage in the finer points of boot-knockng is nowhere near as reprehensible as a male lecher taking advantage of an impressionable lass's vulnerability. Fact is, double standards often exist for good reason. As such, my guess is that The Graduate wouldn't have garnered all those Oscars had its central characters' genders been reversed. Then again, times have indeed changed.

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i want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow

by mg at 12:09 PM on January 10, 2003

It snowed in New York for four straight days after I got back to the city. Yet, there is no snow on the ground. I'm sort of creeped out. Where the hell did it all go? Like everyone else in New York, is the snow vacationing in Florida or something?

These pictures were taken while there was still snow on the ground. I think they kind of suck, but I don't exactly feel like writing anything today, and someone once said something about a picture being worth a thousand words. There are five pictures, but since none of them are particularly good, they're probably just about equivalent to my usual 500-700 word post.

Click on the thumnails to see the big picture, and hold your mouse over the thumbnails to get a few extra details.

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The Decline of Western Civilization Pt. 1,976,703 Ch. 11 "Joe Millionaire"

by effenheimer at 10:05 AM on January 09, 2003

The evidence against evolution piled higher this week as FOX premiered its latest reality-based television show. The program, “Joe Millionaire,” is similar in format to FOX’s “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?” with the following differences: the eligible bachelor makes only $19,000 in any given year and none of the women participating will be told this until they “win” the contest.

I would like to say I am constantly amazed at how little our species has progressed over the millennia, but I’m not really that surprised. After watching a few hours of FOX, FOXNews, FX and even the Fox Family Channel, one becomes inured to all forms of jejuneness. That a man who has no pot to piss in should be dangled in front of 20 women as though he were worth $50 million so we can enjoy her ultimate humiliation is chicken feed when compared to the drunken debacle that is “The Anna Nicole Show.”

We will be on the inside of this gag from the start and that gives the theme of “Joe Millionaire” a slightly more upfront and obvious cruelty other shows have lacked.

Part of me can’t wait to see the look on the face of the gold-digger who wins. I will no doubt see her disappointment as self-imposed and well-deserved ... should I choose to watch all of this realness.

While reality TV seems like a fairly modern trend, there has always been reality television and reality films before that. They were called “documentaries.” Of course, the term “documentary” sounds boring and – God-forbid – educational. “Reality-based television” is merely an au currant marketing term to make documentaries sound more hip and cool to people who wouldn’t watch an hour on Roman bacchanalias, but don’t mind seeing three 19-year-old doofuses befoul the waters of their new 8-person hot tub in the premiere episode of “The Real World-Las Vegas.”

Talk about divergent evolution. Since the advent of “reality TV,” these low-rent documentaries about strangers living together in odd places have given way to more and more bizarre gameshow-style themes with people being voted off and out and winners getting the big prize. “The Mole,” “Fear Factor,” “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” “World’s Scariest Places,” “The Island,” “The Osbournes” and – coming soon – a CBS reality show based on “The Beverly Hillbillies” that has Appalachian Advocacy groups up in arms. Who knew they had advocacy groups?

The list goes on and likely WILL go on ad nauseum until the evermore sharply declining shame spiral we call American televison becomes nothing more than a wasteland of programs that show contestants betting on how long it takes them to make babies cry and prisoners fighting to the death for a few days reduced sentence. Oh, and cheap Japanese animation, of course, that stuff isn't going anywhere any time soon.

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hey, i think i love you

by effenheimer at 06:46 PM on January 08, 2003

Your misery is as alluring as it is self-indulgent. I think... wait, yes, I know now that ... I LOVE YOU. I want you to call me at 3 a.m. to tell me all your problems and how you want to meet a guy like me only, you know, not me so I can confuse pity with love and pine away for you year in and year out while I tell myself it's OK to be in love with my best friend who just doesn't like me that way and can she have some money for a pop? don't worry I wouldnt mind taking you to see some guy you like play drums for his crappy cover band because you dont want to look desperate going there by herself. Oh yeah sure wear your thigh-high boots, they're cool. then maybe you can leave with him while I drive an hour and a half home by myself so you can stare at his ceiling all night.

god i'm lonely

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A Really Bad Idea

by anna at 06:45 PM on January 08, 2003

It's tricky to explain the allure of some sites. Take, for instance. It basically chronicles the ups and downs of Melly's life. She dotes on her son, quarrels with her mom and occasionally gets tipsy and flirtacious in bars.

As the URL would suggest, her's is a rather ordinary life. Which isn't to say it's humdrum, just that she seems a grounded and responsible parent. And we parents' nightlives are by definition somewhat limited. Nonetheless, her last five posts averaged an impressive 11 comments. Her blog has registered over a million hits. I myself tune in for my daily dosage o' Melly. Everyone just adores her, and rightly so. For she's been known to wolf down cold fried chicken in bed. Forget the car-sex mishap, that imagery alone is priceless.

Bad Sam is a different animal. It's a group blog, for one thing. For another, its central character appears to leads a less conventional lifestyle; albeit perhaps not offbeat enough to attract Little Green Footballs-style traffic. Or for that matter, to secure a coveted Bloggie award. (Stuff those ballot boxes everybody.)

For what it's worth, here's my suggestion: We take turns posing as MG, only radically reinvented. Instead of a webmaster/grad student/would-be seducer of library babes, he's now a swashbuckling pimp who keeps his stable of strumpets in line via intimidation and if absolutely necessary, brutality. He oversees an Ecstasy house uptown, where NYC's hipster elite gather to form a writhing cuddle puddle on the floor. He also moonlights as an assassin for the Russian mob when not dabbling in voodoo. Having long since wearied of seeking grainy, third-generation copy of that ever-elusive Pam/Tommy Lee romp, only to wind up trapped in a gay porn quagmire, he abducted the pair. He compels them to engage in all and sundry manner of depravity, solely for his amusement. A transvestite Catherine Zeta-Jones look-alike lovingly bathes him in a basinette.

Is it ever a gratifying and richly varied life this upgraded version of MG leads; so much so that both Tony Soprano and James Bond drool with envy. He frequents Manhattan's finest freak boxes and glory holes. On the mean streets of Harlem, hardened felons step aside as the Eminem of pimping swaggers by twirling his pimp stick with ruby-encrusted fedora tipped at a jaunty angle. Sisters coo after him. This playa's got mad game. When Crip and Bloods need a bloody turf dispute mediated, who else would they tap?

Hollywood's calling for the movie rights, singing hey baby let's keep in touch. New MG spurns their offers, holding out for Total Creative Control as though he were Spike Lee.

It'll prove to be such great fun crafting this zany, multifaceted antihero. Say what? Nobody would buy into this preposterous ruse? Readers are liable to mutiny in droves? This is the one infallible way to ensure that BS is the Pink of this year's Bloggie competition?

To quote Gilda Radner: Oh, that's very different. Never mind.

Carry on.

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the sword or the pen can be held, held by the same hand!

by mg at 09:24 AM on January 08, 2003

It’s that time of year again, and I don’t care. That’s right, its award time again – the tux comes out again as I prepare once again for the Oscars, Grammies, Golden Globes, and, most importantly, the Bloggies.

Last year I got all worked up about them, and totally crushed when I didn’t win.

This year, I couldn’t care less.

Sure, it would be nice to win something this year, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Still, I wouldn’t be worth my considerable weight (I’ve put on 130 Christmas pounds) as a webmaster if I didn’t make at least one impassioned plea to go vote Bad Samaritan for a Bloggies or two (or half-dozen).

Go ahead and nominate us in every category if you want (best Latin American blog? Sí!), but there are a couple categories in particular that I’d be really proud to be thought of for, and would have the best chance for a Halle Berry style breakdown up on the podium if I were to actually receive the award.
1. Weblog of the Year, for sure, but I don’t see much chance of winning that one.
2. Best Weblog Webring for the my ameriBLOGs ring (which, by the way, is creeping up on 400 members).
3. Best Tagline for a Weblog for “Last in line for a Nobel Peace Prize. First in line for pie.” Which I think is ridiculously clever, even if none of the rest of you bastards do.
4. Most Humorous Weblog – are we funny “ha-ha” or funny “strange”? Either way, I think we deserve a nod.
5. Best Group or Community Weblog – seriously, how did we not even get nominated for this one last year? That was one of the greatest tragedies in the history of mankind, on par with the Hindenburg, and Titanic’s Best Picture award in 1998.

I really want to win the best Group one, but know I wont since slash dot, metafilter, and fark have so many damn users (and therefore don't even deserve a link) I couldn’t hope to compete. However it’d be an honor just to be nominated for a Bloggie, in any category.


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so I turned myself to face me but i've never caught a glimpse

by mg at 09:51 AM on January 07, 2003

Traditionally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

But, it gives me something to write about. So, for the past couple years I have made a couple here, if only to take up space. Last year I resolved to be a better friend and let life happen. Two years ago I promised to use better grammar and not to overuse words like “so” and "and" to begin paragraphs.

I guess they weren’t made with the most honest of intentions, because I haven’t really done such a great job keeping them. I haven’t been a better friend (pretty obvious from the fact the majority of my friends thought I was dead for the past two weeks), my grammar is still abominable, and I still begin too many sentences with “so” and “and.” I’ve done pretty good with the letting life happen thing (I feel like I’ve been blown around by life this year like a paper bag in the wind), but one out of four is maybe an okay average if I were a Tampa Bay Devil Ray, but I expect more of myself if I’m going to play in the big leagues.

Not that anyone else ever actually keeps their resolutions, but this year I'm going to try. But, I'm only going to me make that I know I can keep. Here they are:
1. I will get totally crushed out on people I have absolutely no chance of ever hooking up with.
2. I will not drink, eat or watch TV any less than I did last year.
3. I will run up thousands (more) dollars of credit card debt.
4. I will not invite all my male buddies over to watch the Super Bowl, but instead put in Chuck and Buck.
5. I will finally quit smoking completely, even in bars, beginning on March 30th.
6. I will not cultivate any meaningful relationships with new friends. Instead I will waste all my time in front of a computer working on this stupid web site.
7. I will procrastinate on all my homework, papers, and test preparations to ensure my graduate education begins the right way.
8. I will not find permanent, meaningful employment.
9. I will begin a strict regimen of daily physical activity. I will miss a couple days (for some lame reason) and then never start up again.
10. I will not be happy with the direction my life is taking. But I also will not do anything to change its course.

Any you know you could keep?

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guess who's back, back again

by mg at 10:18 AM on January 06, 2003

I’m back.

Did you miss me?

Apparently a lot of people did. While I was away my friends were frantically searching, thinking I’d died or something. Beside for the countless voicemail messages left on my cell and answering machine, I’d like to think a couple of them even stopped by my apartment to sniff at the door for the putrefying stench of rotting flesh. My friends are nice that way.

What I don’t get, though, is why they were so worried. Maybe I’m being delusional again, but I’m pretty sure I told anyone who’d listen that I’d be heading away for the holidays. This sort of thing really makes me question a) my grasp on reality, and/or b) the listening comprehension of my bestest buddies.

The fact is, like a B-List celebrity used on a lame TV show as a gimmick for easy ratings and cheap laughs (What you talking ‘bout, Gary?), I’m back.

Where was I? Well… uhm… ah… ahem.

So, anyway, the thing is, I’m back. I’ll be back to posting something of a little more entertaining nature soon enough, probably later today.

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Lunatic Fringe, We All Know You're Out There

by anna at 10:39 AM on January 05, 2003

Lockheed, I hear your lament. This screed is for you and anyone else lurking out there in the void. But 1st, some football news: the NY Jets routed their opponent 41-0 yesterday. The NY Giants play today. If they win we'll be well on our way to a reprise of 2000's Subway Series. Sounds awfully suspicious to me.

At my job I deal with persons with disabilities. They all require extensive drug regimens which include pain meds, anti-convulsants, anti-nausea agents and stimulants to combat drowsiness. Most could drive but for the fact they're so strung out it isn't safe.

To turn on TV is to know we're a society of gluttons for pain remedies, asthma inhalers, allergy drugs, cough syrups, antacids and stuff to keep us from farting so much.

Maladies even pervade this blog. BornFamous has posted here about how her Multiple Chemical Sensitivities preclude work in offices. I wrenched my back coughing, of all things. MG himself told of coughing up some mysterious item after a light jog.

Back in the day, celebs indulged in fun drugs like cocaine. Now they're all undergoing treatment to overcome their painkiller addictions. Both Matthew Perry and Melanie Griffith have boasted of beating back their demons to become clean 'n sober. I have my doubts about the latter.

Meanwhile, malaria, TB and bubonic plague have staged comebacks in this country. Plus, we've got a host of new afflictions to cope with: Anthrax poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome, chlamydia, genital warts, anxiety disorder, sex addiction and Dr. Phil. Bratty kids go to school on powerful medications. Even pets are treated with psychotropic meds.

Yup, we've got a medical solution for all that ails you. Ugly? Get plastic surgery or a tattoo or those little balls you implant under your skin to attain that coveted bumpy look. Need constant stimulation? Wear ben-wa balls. Too fat? Have your stomach stapled or removed. Subsist on a steady diet of nothing like Calista Flockhart. Bummed out? Undergo trepanation. And so on.

What's the deal here? Are we really getting sicker by the day, or is it a perceptual thing? Has the constant barrage of drug ads influenced us? Is there something pernicious in the air or water? Or have Americans gone soft as a people, like Osama bin Laden and his ilk believe?

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Substance died screaming, killed magnificently by form

by effenheimer at 04:35 PM on January 02, 2003

Appearances matter. Sorry to say so, but it’s true. We like to tell ourselves that deep down, it is what a person is made of or capable of that matters most, but don’t believe it for a second. In the battle between substance and form, substance died screaming of a sucking chest wound years ago. I think it was when “Smoky and the Bandit” came out.

Think about every place you ever worked in your entire life. Promotions and kudos are not the domain of the grubby yet hard working. In the many places I have worked from Taco John’s to the Psychic Hotline, those witth clear skin, symmetrical features and nice shoes have succeeded regardless of how high they might have scored on an intelligence test.

My advice is dress for success and success will be yours whether you deserve it or not.

I worked with a couple of guys at my college paper who couldn’t put two good words together. One was a sweet, little fella with pretty blue eyes and “Friends” hair. This guy once said – outloud mind you – that Hansen should have won artist-of-the-year over Bob Dylan. He now works at MTV asking boy bands where they get their ideas.

The other kid was a vaccuous, dull-eyed airhead who thought the word “lustrous” was dirty and couldn’t tell her art from her elbow. She works as an A&E writer now constructing insipid leads of pure fiction. Good thing mommy and daddy had friends, huh?

What both of these wastes of skin represent in my mind is proof positive that form beats substance every time. Each was gifted with the most inpenetrable sense of entitlement based solely on that house of cards that is social status.

Each “looked” like somebody’s ideal professional journalist because they spent more money on clothes, haircuts and make-up every year than on rent and food. Frankly, they would have looked like anybody’s ideal Taco John’s assistant manager, Psychic Hotline night supervisor or White House Communications Director. It doesn’t really matter.

Looks work better than anything. Why? People are completely taken in by appearances. We want to sum others up as quickly as possible because getting to know them is a painful, time-consuming and boring process.

No one is ever going to suddenly think a guy whose breath smells like warm cotto salami is a valuable person of great insight and sensitivity in spite of the fact he can’t get it together enough to brush his teeth. So get used to it. Get a haircut. Buy a suit. You could be Gandhi, Nikola Tesla and Howard Hughes all rolled into one, but if you walk around in a crusty diaper with a bad hairdo and dirty, long fingernails, no one will care. Comic shops and game stores are filled with guys who are pretty sure they are smarter than the average bear, but never got anywhere because they like to wear shirts with wizards on them that don’t quite cover their stomachs. Trust me, if you can spend $1,000 a month on Pokemon, you can afford clothes made this century.

Stop riding kid’s bikes in jeans and workboots. Realize the “mustachioed mullethead” is not a good look. Feed caps ... hello, tacky. Take a shower, buy some nice slacks, get a current haircut.

We waste far too much precious time in schools these days trying to teach children NOT to judge others by their appearance when what we should be teaching them is how to take advantage of the situation. We should teach courses like “How to look good on $25 a week,” “Dressing thin for fat people,” “How to cover up bad skin with makeup and scarves,” “Expensive shoes – the shortcut to success and nightclubs.”

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Three Cups of Coffee and I Can't Clear My Head

by anna at 11:38 AM on January 01, 2003

Was feeling pretty chipper until I checked my email. Therein found a missive about "my account" from some shadowy online casino. It's all coming back to me albeit in bits and pieces. Bottom line is I must deal with this nightmare, just not now. Hence this post.

Among the gifts my beloved received this year was a female chinchilla. It wasn't easy to find one since breeders tend to hold them in reserve, but we now have a breeding pair.

So I'll be tendering my two weeks notice. Yes indeed, we're going to become full-time chinchilla ranchers. We hope to entice fur merchants with offers of bulk discounts, and to tap into the burgeoning market for chinchillas as pets. Hopefully it will pan out better than that emu debacle.

Chinchillas are vulnerable to drafts, so we're going to keep them in our hermetically sealed bedroom.

Downside #1: These overgrown rodents are nocturnal creatures. Come sundown, they're bursting with energy. And while it's one thing to be awakened prematurely by one running maniacally on its squeeky exercise wheel, I'd imagine it's another entirely to be kept up nights by a herd of them.... fornicating. Hear their muted cries of ecstasy as they reach the big O and then switch partners. Think the Playboy Mansion only on an incestuous rodent scale. Eek.

Downside #2: We fully anticipate guff from PETA operatives once they get wind of this operation. Perhaps they'll confront us as they did supermodel Gisele. Or else they'll stage a chinchilla liberation as they did with minks in Manchester, England. Within a month the entire population of a rare species of river vole had been decimated.

Downside #3: The possibility of a surprise visit from Richard Gere can't be discounted either. Although he's repeatedly denied having an affinity for our furry friends, ugly rumors persist.

Which is why I might be moving to Montana soon; raise me up a crop of dental floss. Or at least that was my original plan, until tragedy struck. We'd been pleasantly surprised with the newest addition to our menagerie, which currently includes three fish tanks, a gerbil, a parrot, a parakeet, an iguana, three toads, two dogs, two cats, untold ants and of course Mr. Chilla. Who was simply delighted when we introduced him to his bride-to-be. You see, Ms. Chilla proved to be far more docile and cuddly than the original. Which, as it turned out, was because she was in the process of dying. Within a matter of days she lay lifeless with the lascivious Mr. Chilla still ogling her.

So I contact the pet shop, and was told that---lo and behold--- they had another female on hand. I scurry twenty miles across town with a cadaver stinking up my ride, only to find myself examining chinchilla genitalia with a tiny ruler. Alas, 'twas a commonpace male. Hence it could be weeks before we can get the whole rodent ranching deal off the ground.

Man, if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck @ all.

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